- Kafue National Park
Infobox_protected_area | name = Kafue National Park
iucn_category = II
area = 22,400 km²
established = 1924
Kafue National Park is the largest
national parkin Zambia, covering an area of about 22,400 km² (similar in size to Walesor Massachusetts). It is the second largest park in Africa and is home to over 55 different species of animals.
The park is named for the
Kafue River. It stretches over three provinces: North Western, Central and Southern. The main access is via the Great West Road from Lusakato Monguwhich crosses the park north of its centre. Seasonal dirt roads also link from Kalomoand Namwalain the south and south-east, and Kasempain the north.
Kafue National Park was established in 1924 after the British colonial government moved the traditional owners of the area, the
Nkoyapeople of (King) Mwene Kabulwebulwe, from their traditional hunting grounds into the MumbwaDistrict to the east. Dissatisfaction with the pace of development in Central Province and a lack of benefit from tourism in the park have led to calls from Nkoya leaders to establish a new province in the area which they have proposed to call "Kafue Province". [ [http://www.visitzambia.co.zm/ Visit Zambia Campaign] ]
Ecoregions and habitats
Most of the park lies in the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands ecoregion characterised by savanna grasslands with
Miombotree species, growing thickly in some patches, with a few small dambos(grasslands which become marshy in the rainy season) interspresed among them. In the south there are stony hills and rocky outcrops where the more sparse Zambezian and Mopane woodlands ecoregion takes over, and Mopanetrees adapted to hotter drier conditions replace Miombo. A thin belt of evergreen forest lines the banks of the Kafue River, which has been controversially dammed just outside the park at Itezhi-Tezhi Dam, forming a reservoir within the park. Patches of " Baikiaea" (teak) and " Cryptosepalum" evergreen forest occur in the south and west.
The jewel in Kafue's crown however is the Zambezian flooded grasslands ecoregion in the north, including the
Busanga Swampand plains. These support large herds of herbivores and their predators. In the dry season the animals keep close to the swamps and marshy creeks and are easily seen. The area is also noted for its birdlife.
Ngoma in the south is the headquarters of the park but this area together with the Nanzhila Plains are less visited and have become somewhat run down since the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam was built and more lodges were developed in the north. The reservoir cut the north-south track through the park and now it is necessary to detour outside the park to drive between Ngoma and Chunga.
Wildlife of Zambia
* [http://www.safarimappers.com/area.aspx?lngareaid=17 Map of Kafue National Park]
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